|Awww! Aren't they precious?|
It's that time of year ya'll. The big hardware/farm supply chain starts tempting you with bins of tiny, fuzzy, cheeping bundles of adorable. They convince you the little darlings will have to have the $600 chicken condo to be happy, special nesting boxes, fancy feeders and heat lamps. Suddenly that $2 chicken requires a small loan to get started.
And I fall for it every year.
We only have one chicken left from the first batch I brought home two years ago. Ayla got a hold of one of them, then we lost four to the summer heat, but Cordelia is still out there, laying one beautiful blue egg a day.
A few weeks ago, T.A. came home with 6 more babies, 2 Ameraucana , 2 Golden Comets and 2 Black Laced Wyandottes. One of the Comets only made it a day and four of the others are growing ridiculously fast. One of the Wyandottes is half the size of the rest. She seems healthy and was only slightly smaller than the others when we brought them home, but now it's very obvious.
Her name is Little Bit.
If you're thinking about getting your own hens, there are some things they won't tell you on all those fancy "chicken blogs."
You know the ones I mean.
They have Amish built coops with staircases and red checkered curtains on the nesting boxes. They feed their "girls" out of Grandma's antique candy dish with their home grown, ground and mixed chicken feed. They post pictures of baby chicks wearing little tutus made from cupcake liners.
Mahala is going to tell you the truth about chickens.
First of all, those cute little fluffy balls of peepiness? They'll stay that way for about a minute. Soon they morph into needy, teen aged velociraptor thingies, flying around and squirting butt juice all over that fancy assed coop... or in my case, the spare bathroom.
Of course, when they start flying around it's time to move them outside, provided it's warm enough, which it is, but I can't move my
demon spawn velociraptors cute little chicky chicky babies out to the coop just yet.
That would be too easy.
The other night, I went out to check on Cordelia. It had been raining buckets for the past two days and while I knew she had plenty of food and water, I wanted to take her some treats and visit a while.
She gets a little lonely.
I opened the gate on the coop (not a fancy Amish wonder, an old chain link dog lot. This ain't Hollywood ya'll,) and immediately noticed that there was a problem. The tarp covering the lot had split, right down the middle and was hanging down on both sides.
As I stood there, bewildered, in cupcake pj pants, flip flops and a tank top, trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do, the skies opened up. The rain began slowly, building up to a behemoth of a gully washer. Cordelia was scurrying around my feet, bitching about the lack of appropriate accommodations, threatening to call PETA.
"You have a house, (an old dog house, but it's dry!) Why don't you go in it? There are chickens in Mexico that don't even have fine lookin' houses like you do and you never hear them bitching and complaining!"
Cordelia was not amused.
I knew that there was a spare tarp laying around somewhere and I'd found the zip ties I'd lost last year on my last cleaning spree, so I told Cordelia to stay put while I ran in the house to find them.
Before I go on, I can hear you over there, shaking your head, rolling your eyes, being all Judgey McJudgeypants. I KNOW a tarp is like.. the worst possible thing to use to cover the coop. I KNOW okay? It was just supposed to be temporary. It will be covered with fence THIS WEEKEND.
By the time I got back out there, Cordelia's courtyard was covered in about 3 inches of mud. I really need to invest in some rubber boots.. but ya know.. this is the holler, we work with what we have.
|These are kinda cool. They're called Buffy Boots. Cordelia is named after a Buffy the Vampire Slayer character. See what I did there? I crack myself up. Get yours for only $39.99!|
If you're familiar with how tarps
don't work, you know that water will tend to gather in places and cause big, bulging tarp babies. Normally, when it's been raining a lot, I'll go out there and periodically jab at the tarp babies from underneath with the garden rake and cause a tarp baby waterfall. If you don't, the water gets all swampy and stinky.
I know of swampy. I used to live by the Great Dismal Swamp. I hadn't poked the water babies in a while. The odor was hurl inducing. It's really hard to tell which way the swamp water is going to come gushing down.
I got soaked.
It wasn't easy, but I eventually got the new tarp secured. I had mud and chicken shit between my toes, I wreaked of swamp. The evil, go-to-hell look I gave T.A. when I went inside and she asked me, "What's for supper?" would have turned most people to stone. She'd just gotten up, she wasn't aware of the danger she'd put herself in.
Although Cordelia will be nice and dry for a while, I don't want to move the babies out to the coop until I get the top covered with fencing, so in the meantime, they're still in the spare bathroom. I was going to feed them earlier, opened the bathroom door and got swarmed. They, all five, flew into me and attached themselves to my shirt.
I was wearing chickens.
They love me. What can I say.
So the next time you see those tempting bins of cute little chicky-chicky babies, just remember me, standing in the rain, chicken shit between my toes and the smell of swamp emanating from my body. Fight the urge. Just go buy some eggs.
We'll talk again soon!